Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Devotional: Have We Forgotten the Holy Spirit?

I want to try to discuss something that people don’t regularly like to talk about in depth, I think mostly because it is so often misunderstood and misinterpreted—the ever-nebulous Holy Spirit. What is it? What can it do for and to you? The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit advocates for and teaches you, gives you comfort, victory, and power, convicts you, brings remembrance (of Jesus), and provides truth.

First of all, in order to understand the Holy Spirit at all, we have to fully believe that there is a spiritual world out there. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV). This verse establishes that there is a spirit world out there and that “good spirits” (the Holy Spirit, angels) fight against “bad spirits” (the devil, demons) for dominion over our families, our relationships, our heats, and ultimately our souls. I’m sure when you were younger you heard your grandmother or someone else talk about “messing with spirits” and you immediately thought they were a bit crazy. The reality is that if you say you believe in the Bible you have to believe that there is a whole spiritual world out there that we cannot see, and there are spirits fighting both FOR and AGAINST us.

Now that we know that the spiritual world is in fact real, let’s explore real applications of what the Holy Spirit is/does.

Our Comforter/Advocate
In John 14:16-19 Jesus basically gives his departure speech to his disciples. He knows that he is going to be taken up to Heaven soon, so he explains that he may be leaving, BUT he’s not leaving them alone. He is leaving a piece of himself on earth. What is he referring to you ask?…you guessed it—The Holy Spirit! He says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” The Holy Spirit is our advocate (the King James Version uses Comforter in this verse) providing relief and safety from the evil of this world, and advocating (supporting, encouraging, backing, favoring) us. The Spirit not only comforts us, but shows us what is true and right.

When I was in college, I always felt like I was going at things alone, like I had to watch my own back. I didn’t have my family and friends I had known for years in extremely close proximity in times when I needed their support, comfort, and advocacy. Of course they were only a phonw call away, but it wasn’t the same. I had friends I’d met in school, but I naturally wondered how much I could place my trust in them. Sadly at that time, I pretty much never attempted to access the Holy Spirit, either. And because I did not seek the Holy Spirit, I was not lead towards the truth— that God cared and His Spirit could comfort me in any moment.  

Our Conviction
 Truth and conviction go hand in hand. Conviction, similar to the verb convict, convinces us of the truth, error of our ways. Not to condemn us, but to show us that through Jesus we can be saved. “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come” (John 16:7-11).

I know this to be true. I used to enjoy telling people off and making them feel bad, feeding of the negative energy. But once I became closer to God and started to access His Spirit I began to see that I no longer needed to do that because I have positive energy living inside of me! Now I sometimes have thoughts of how I can demolish people’s feelings with my mouth, but I believe that the Holy Spirit has convicted me to the point where that is no longer my first reaction or my only resort. Galatians 5:16 says  “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”

Our Victory and Strength
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years.But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer,Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge[b] and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11 So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died”. --Judges 3:7-11

Even though this was in a time when people did not have a direct connection to God as we do now, before the birth of Jesus and before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts, the Spirit of God was still there, When the Spirit came upon Othniel, he was empowered to defeat the King of Aram and brought 40 years of peace.  “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8), and “if the Holy Spirit is living in you, God “will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:10-11).

I fully believe that this power is not limited to physical defeat opponents, but it can also help us to overcome things in our mind that seek to destroy us. Is there something that you wrestle with mentally…Maybe depression, fornication, lust, jealousy? Through the Holy Spirit you can have victory over it! Romans 8:5 says, “those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” STOP RIGHT NOW. Pray to God and ask that he send the Holy Spirit to help you defeat whatever is plaguing you. Ask that your mind be transformed through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and be set on the things of God. The Bible says that he has given us POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND (2 Timothy 1:7).
Our Intercessor
Romans 8: 26-27 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” An intercessor is someone who mediates between two or more parties to try to help settle an argument or disagreement between them; one who speaks to someone in order to defend or help another person (Merriam Webster). Essentially, the Holy Spirit is on your side, going to God on your behalf to make things happen for you. He’s handling the work for you by pleading with God on your behalf.

Our Connection to God
John 14:26-27 says “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

The Holy Spirit helps connects us spiritual things in ways that they can be applied to our lives. Have you ever prayed then read the Bible, and got a completely new outlook on something? That’s the work of the Spirit. This can also be done through a preacher. Have you ever went to church and gotten an understanding of a certain scripture in a way that you never had before? Immediately after the Holy Spirit fell in Acts 2, Peter began to preach. He reminded them of the prophecy from the Old testament (in the book of Joel) and connected it to what had just happened. I’m sure that was eye-opening for a lot of the people there. As a response the Bible says, “Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?...41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. The Holy Spirit opened up their hearts, helped them to remember the word of God and allowed Peter to teach them something. In the end the Spirit brought them such peace, that they were convinced to give their lives to God, and were “added to the church”


Making Your Own Connection
A lot of times we go to people and ask them to pray for us. We know that where two or three are gathered God is in the midst (Matthew 18:20) and that is great because we should pray with others, but we often forsake (abandon or give up) our own time with God alone at the drop of a hat because we are too tired, woke up too late, not feeling it, can’t focus, etc.

Bottom line: We need to stop being lazy and take time to pour our hearts out to God one-on-one. When you are low (and when you’re not) seek after the Holy Spirit and asking Him to make intercession for you. What does that mean? TO PRAY FOR YOU. When you are feeling weak and when you don't even have words to say God’s Spirit can take over for you like auto pilot.

I think sometimes we don’t want to give in to God. We would rather sit in anger or depression to prove a point or to justify our own desires. But that is not what God wants for us. He wants to comfort us!!! He wants us to give in the Him so that he can make it all better. Like a child who has a boo boo, he wants to kiss it and make it feel better.

I’ve definitely felt like not wanting to pray because in order to prove a point by staying mad or wallowing in my self-pity. But I’ve found that at the end of the day that’s not helping anyone, it’s just hurting me. The real battle for me is mental, and I am sure it is for you guys too. So I had to start praying whenever I had like an impure thought. One day I was like working myself up getting jealous over something and I was like YO this is not real because I’m not even a jealous person. So I had to PRAY, and ask the Spirit to deal with me. I can honestly say that it helped, immediately, The Holy Spirit can do the same for you, if you just take the time to truly confess your faults, fears, an worries, and place them all in His hands.

The way the Holy Spirit works is truly unexplainable! In John 3 Jesus says, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit…The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” PRAY THIS PRAYER:


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly Devotional: Different Levels of Trust!!!!

The song Oceans has been on my mind and heart since Friday night. Some words to one of my favorite parts of the song: "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters where ever you would lead me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith would be made stronger in the present of my Savior."

This part stays with me. This song really speaks to how strong is your faith. To me, there are different levels of trust. There's "I don't trust You God.", "I trust you for my life inside the church BUILDING but not in my life.", "I trust You to take care of me, but not to take me out of my comfort zone." and then "Whatever You say or want me to do, I trust You and will do it!!". And I will say that currently I am not at the Whatever You say or want me to do, I trust You and will do it. Because there are some that I allow reason or justifications to step in and take over. For example, not waking up because I am tired and I need all of my sleep even though the joy of the Lord is my strength. Or there could be different things that I don't even know about. But, I am working on myself to get to the point where I just say "Send me, I'll go!!" 

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6. Basically, we just need to trust God with all of our heart. Not trust God when it does us good. Not just when we can stay content in our zone. Not just when we want to not reach out and walk by faith. But, we are supposed to trust God with ALL of our hearts. We are not supposed to trust our own understanding. We are not to try and rationalize a way out of what God wants us to do. If we give God the praise and glory He is worthy of, then He will take care of us. He will direct our paths. He will lead and be with us wherever we go. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23. At bible study tonight with Bro Doug, he even mentioned that God has mapped out our lives to every detail and all He is wanting us to do is do our part and trust Him.
Trusting Him can be go talk to someone about Jesus on our job. Or it can be inviting someone to church. It may be getting up in the very early morning and pray for someone that God places on your heart. It can be anything. But, God just wants us to do our part so He can keep preparing us for our destiny. During our YARCs service on Sunday, Ja-Reef Williams message was about Blind obedience versus flesh filled sacrifice. If you go back to Cain and Abel, you will see the difference between the two. Cain gave a sacrifice that he thought would be honorable in God's sight but not something that was true and from the heart. On the other hand, Abel gave God a sacrifice from the heart. Or if you look at other biblical figures, you will see how God honors obedience and true sacrifice versus giving something that we think should be done.

This goes the same with our trusting God. God wants us to really trust God and not lean unto our own understanding. Sometimes we are like Peter and so eager to do something God wants but one thing distracts us from God and we go backwards.
"And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" 
Matthew 14:25-31

I think this is very important. The disciples are on the boat and then they come to the realization that it is Jesus and not a ghost walking on water. Peter is excited and wants to walk out by faith. As he is walking, he got distracted by something as little as the wind and started to sink. He took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink. When he realized that he was sinking, he cried upon the person who he got distracted from. And Jesus said why did you start doubting?
Sometimes we're walking this walk of faith and we even get out of the boat that may contain our past, insecurities, comfort levels, or whatever and we move on to meet Jesus on the water. However, winds start to blow and life starts to get rough. Instead of trusting, we start to doubt and lose focus. Then, when we realize we can't help ourselves, we cry out unto God. And He is looking at us like we're stupid because if we would have kept trusting Him and kept our eyes on Him, we would be walking. So, after that, we decide to go back into our boat where we think we are safe. We go back into this boat where our insecurities and comfort levels can defend us and we can rationalize or justify why we are acting a certain way. When we get the opportunity to step out by faith and do something that God is calling us to, we stay in the boat and don't exercise our faith. This shows God that we really don't trust Him. 

But sometimes we just have to get to the point where we are asking God to take the borders off of our trust levels. We have to ask God to remove the barriers blocking us from stepping out by faith. There are some great things that God has planned for all of us. But if we are content with where we are, then God is not going to allow us to grow and reach our destiny. We have to trust God and let Him lead us on our walk. If we don't allow God to lead us and be our help, then what are we praying to God for? Why do we say that He is our Savior if we can't trust Him? If we thank God and praise Him because of what He did on the cross, why can't we pay a small price and trust God to get us where we need to be? So
my question what is your level of trust with God? Do you really trust God or nah? 

It's okay if your trust level is not at the top because that is why we build our relationships and let that trust level build. 

My Prayer:
Dear God,
Thank You for seeing as one of Your own and thank You for the potential that You have placed within me. Help me Lord to trust You more and depend on You. God, I want You to guide my footsteps and be my light. Help me to walk on the waters and go where I have never thought to be. Help me Lord to not judge a certain situation by what I see but by how You see. God, please remind me of Your promises daily and show me Your love everyday. Help me Lord to be a light to someone else and show them Your love. Thank You for Your love and forgiveness.
In Jesus Name,

Be blessed!!
~ Steven Gable
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Devotional: Summer School

Before this week ends I just want remind and encourage everyone that our Lord, Jesus Christ is a prayer answering God.

He is our father who listens and answers. 

This past summer was a very interesting summer for me. 

It consisted of me not working for an overall of three months. In that time God has taught me a lot of patience as well as the importance of keeping a good attitude, not complaining and praying consistently. 

I am so thankful that God brought me through this trying of my faith.

It wasn't at all easy but because of God's grace, mercy and love he kept me. 

It's like what David said in Psalms 18:
18 I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Don't be afraid of what others may say or do to you. Jesus is our father; he knows everything and can see the big picture.

He is your refuge, your strength, your comfort, your everything. 

Just like the bible says trust in The Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding in thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.

Stay in God's peace not in pieces :)


Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekly Devotional: What is that in You??

What is that in YOU??

Have you ever received anything and not understand its benefits or relevance until time has passed? Maybe if we reflect on our childhood we can. Maybe there were valuable items passed down, lessons or some financial accounts.  Sometimes we can have something of great value but not realize until our maturation or level of understanding is attained. This is exactly what God's Holy Spirit was to me. I received God's gift at age 7, but it wasn't until I was 22 that I understood what I received. Today's devotional is purposed to share some understanding God shined on me about the HS (Holy Spirit), maybe you can relate to my ignorance.

What is the Holy Spirit? 
This spirit is a gift from God that allows a more intimate relationship with him. It gives you a new heavenly prayer language and is evident through speaking in other tongues. It is a guide, help, comforter and teacher. It will bring things to your remembrance. It is a spirit of truth, it glorifies God and it intercedes on your behalf.

Can the Holy Spirit help?

Yes absolutely!! I recall a time where I was working a job that was demoralizing, physically draining and I had felt God forsaken. I finally made a commitment to God through prayer and reading his word, yet there I was. I was extremely tired from the physical labor, I didn’t have any lunch or food and I felt horrible. I was the only young person in the crew working a temporary 2 week job. My emotions caused an isolation in me. Such as when your with a lot of people, yet you feel alone. It was in this place, this daze when I was working with another guy, putting together a fixture. The guy was on the ladder 6 feet above with heavy pipes, and I was on the floor below. Definently a work violation, yet we been working in this manner for an hour and suddenly I heard "Move back". Immediately I moved back and a few large, THICK PIPES came crashing down. That would’ve been the worst headache of my life. But more importantly it was the HS that warned me. On my break I had tears of joy because God had showed he cared. One of the verses in my memory that day was cast your cares on him, because he cares. And he did.

       In another trial, I was without a car and had to walk to work. I cried to God for understanding praying: “I'm no Abraham, Moses, and this trial requires greater faith!!” The HS spoke to my anguish in a direct piercing way, " This is why your here, your faith needs to rise." The truth settled my emotions and I received strength to press on. The HS has God’s plans, agenda and purpose. In James it says ask of God in faith and he will tell you. God wants the best for us and it sometimes requires a trial to reveal or bring about change.
Another instance I learned of the HS’s help was at a Friday service. I was praying and my spirit began to speak. I was trying to silence the spirit, because my peers were near me. But the spirit became boisterous praying through me. At first I was fearful wondering how I'd be viewed then, the HS, the reminder came. I was reminded of all the things God has done for me, in just that year. And I began to sing and pray in my mind because the spirit had my mouth. I felt free from the oppression of fear and Gods peace rested on me. Also, in another prayer meeting I wasn't feeling good. And God showed up, people all around me began praying in the spirit. I was not, and I simply asked the HS to pray. And it did not take long as it began to speak through me. There are times where we just don’t understand or in a place where it is too much. The HS is an aide, its job is to help us pray.

Lastly, there's was a season in my life where I was waiting on God. While waiting I got frustrated and my faith began to waver. In prayer while I was praying the spirit interrupted me and began to pray. I began making a different noise I had never heard before. So hearing myself make these noises I became upset because I felt I looked ridiculous and wanted to pray for my pressing needs. So I attempted to stop, but the sounds out my mouth became more intense. Soon my body had lost control and from my standing position I was now kneeling. With my forehead pressed to the floor moments later I heard "
This is my spirit". And that was the last time I questioned the sound of the spirit. When the spirit is praying it is praying on our behalf. Bible says to pray with it, sing with it and glorify God with it. Through most of these examples, pride was restricting me, causing fear and withholding me from the presence of God. This last experience was about God humbling me, humbling the image I sought to protect and with humility you welcome in A GREAT LOVE. A love that disregards sins, ignorance, PRIDE and disinterest.

Familiarize yourself with Holy Spirit
 In our prayer time sometimes we should practice silence in order to listen. After reading, sometimes just meditate on the word, allow the teacher (HS) to come. I often remind myself to give room to hear through these exercises. I can get caught up in praying and reading without providing room to listen. Speak to the spirit, ask for his guidance and help. Learn his voice. In my experience when the spirit speaks it is direct or straight. It is swift, sudden and something unavoidable and unblockable. It's hard to describe where it comes from because it’s not derived from our senses. It is spiritual and can only be received from our spirit. God's spirit within us speak to our spirit. Often people are confused whether they heard from their mind or was it just their thinking. Great way to check is whether or not it aligns with the word. And it also pays to know how you think. I know when something has arrived to my mind that is not my thinking. Or I know when something has arrived that is God because it challenges my ways that are not his ways. Then I know it’s the HS when I feel pulled to do something that is in my eyes insignificant. The more we familiarize ourselves with the spirit the more we will understand all its benefits. 

1 Corinthians 14:20
Dear brothers and sisters, don't be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.